Because of how far a nation's influence has spread thanks to globalization, the sixth annual U.S. News Best Countries rankings look beyond traditional indicators of success.
The rankings report is based on how several qualitative features are perceived globally to characterize countries. These perceptions have the power to influence international trade, tourism, and investment, as well as have a direct impact on national economies. The perceptions of 85 countries are covered in the report.
The following 10 categories—Adventure, Agility, Cultural Influence, Entrepreneurship, Heritage, Movers, Open for Business, Power, Social Purpose, and Quality of Life—were combined to create the Best Countries rankings. By combining nation criteria that showed similar global trends in survey responses, these thematic sub-rankings were created.
Each country's sub-ranking scores were calculated by averaging the ratings it earned for each of the factors that went into that sub-ranking.
Most were correlated to 2021 gross domestic product at purchasing power parity per capita, a measure of inclusive prosperity similar across nations, as reported by the World Bank, to determine the weight each sub-ranking score had in the overall Best Countries score. More weight was given to subrankings that showed a greater connection to the wealth category, and all weights were standardized to a total of 100.
The BrandAsset Valuator Model of Brand Building, a statistic created by BAV that forecasts a nation's future growth in terms of gross domestic product at purchasing power parity, is represented by the Movers sub-ranking. The International Monetary Fund's GDP-PPP forecast for 2026 was used to correlate it.
The sub-rankings, their weights in determining the overall rankings score, and the characteristics of each country that are taken into account are listed below. Within each sub-ranking, the nation attribute scores were equally weighted. Because they are based on more recent statistics on the gross domestic product, sub-ranking weights are slightly different from those from prior years.
Quality of Life (14.52%): a good job market, affordable, economically stable, family-friendly, income equality, politically stable, safe, well-developed public education system, well-developed public health system.
Entrepreneurship (14.17%): connected to the rest of the world, educated population, entrepreneurial, innovative, provides easy access to capital, skilled labor force, technological expertise, transparent business practices, well-developed infrastructure, well-developed digital infrastructure, well-developed legal framework.
Agility (13.96%): adaptable, dynamic, modern, progressive, and responsive.
Social Purpose (13.49%): cares about human rights, cares about the environment, gender equality, religious freedom, respect property rights, trustworthiness, well-distributed political power, racial equity, cares about animal rights, committed to climate goals, committed to social justice.
Movers (10.57%): different, distinctive, dynamic, unique.
Cultural Influence (10.36%): culturally significant in terms of entertainment, fashionable, happy, influential culture, strong consumer brands, modern, prestigious, trendy.
Open for Business (9.35%): cheap manufacturing costs, favorable tax environment, bureaucratic, corrupt, transparent government practices.
Adventure (5.48%): friendly, fun, good for tourism, pleasant climate, scenic, sexy.
Power (5.02%): a leader, economically influential, strong exports, politically influential, strong international alliances, strong military.
Heritage (3.09%): culturally accessible, rich history, great food, many cultural attractions, many geographical attractions.
The 85 countries in the 2022 Best Countries rankings had to meet four benchmark criteria to be included in the study:
- Top 100 countries in terms of gross domestic product in any year between 2016 to 2020, based on World Bank data.
- Top 100 countries in terms of foreign direct investment inflows in any year between 2016 to 2020, based on World Bank data.
- Top 100 countries in terms of international tourism receipts or tourism arrivals in any year between 2016 to 2020, based on World Bank data.
- Top 150 countries in the U.N.'s Human Development Index in any year between 2015 to 2019.